One of the world’s largest and most aggressive snakes is roaming a populated northern New Jersey lake.
A giant snake in Lake Hoptacong, which was originally reported as a 15-20 foot boa constrictor, is actually a green anaconda, a local reptile expert told NJ.com.
Lake goers and local residents first spotted the snake a few weeks ago. The locals assumed it was a large boa constrictor that had been released or escaped from its owner. But local reptile expert Gerald Andrejcak says it’s no boa.
“It’s a green anaconda,” Andrejcak said. “I’ve known its species (since last week), but I was sworn to keep my mouth shut by local officials to avoid causing a panic. Now that there’s a panic, I’m going on the record.”
Andrejack, who has 20 years of reptile handling and breeding experience and a zoology degree, began hunting the creature last week after reading media reports and Facebook posts about a giant snake in the lake.
Andrejack found it in a boat house where it had reportedly been seen. He approached the boat house by kayak and entered the water to search for the snake.
While wading in the water, the giant reptile brushed passed his leg, but it evaded escape. Andrejack said the snake’s head was as big as his hand, and he estimates it was 15-16 feet long.
He told local animal control officer Dale Sloat that the snake was indeed a green anaconda, not a boa. Sloat reportedly asked Andrejack to keep quiet about the species, so as not to cause public panic – so much for that.
But Sloat is still skeptical about the species.
“So far we have been told there were sightings, but no pictures,” Sloat wrote in an email to NJ.com. “In the boat house the owners say they saw it the night before and called in the morning. The snake either was never there or it was gone before we got there,” Sloat wrote. “No officials have seen this snake, and you know how people exaggerate.”
As of now, nobody knows how the snake got into the lake or if there are more than one. Green anacondas are live bearers, which means they don’t lay eggs. Andrejack said he’ll be able to determine more once the snake is captured.
Featured image via NJ.com